On the 4th, the express returned, without having been able to accomplish his mission: he had found the island of Mackinaw so completely blockaded by the enemy, that it was impossible to reach it, without running the greatest risk of being made prisoner.
On the 12th, we heard distinctly the discharges of artillery which our people were firing off at Michilimackinac, although the distance was nearly sixty miles. We thought it was an attempt of the enemy to retake that post, but we afterward learned that it was only a royal salute in honor of the birthday of the prince regent. We learned, however, during our stay at Saut Ste. Marie, that the Americans had really made a descent upon the island, but were compelled to retire with a considerable loss.
On the 19th, some of the partners arrived from Fort William, preceding the flotilla which was coming down richly laden with furs. They sent on Mr. Decoigne in a light canoe, with letters to Montreal, to order provisions to meet this brigade.
On the 21st, the canoe on which I was a passenger, was sent to the mouth of French river, to observe the motions of the enemy. The route lay between a range of low islands, and a shelvy beach, very monotonous and dreary. We remained at the entrance of the aforesaid river till the 25th, when the fleet of loaded canoes, forty-seven in number, arrived there. The value of the furs which they carried could not be estimated at less than a million of dollars: an important prize for the Americans, if they could have laid their hands upon it. We were three hundred and thirty-five men, all well armed; a large camp was formed, with a breast-work of fur-packs, and we kept watch all night. The next morning we began to ascend French river, and were soon out of reach of the dreaded foe. French river flows from the N.E. and empties into Lake Huron, about one hundred and twenty miles from Saut Ste. Marie. We reached Lake Nipissing, of which it is the outlet, the same evening, and encamped. We crossed that lake on the 27th, made a number of portages, and encamped again, not far from Mattawan.
On the 28th we entered, at an early hour, the river Ottawa, and encamped, in the evening, at the Portage des deux Joachims. This is a grand river, but obstructed by many falls and rapids on its way to join the St. Lawrence; which caused us to make many portages, and so we arrived on the 31st at Kettle falls.
The rock which here arrests the course of the Ottawa, extends from shore to shore, and so completely cuts off the waters, that at the time we passed none was seen falling over, but sinking by subterranean channels, or fissures in the rock, it boiled up below, from seven or eight different openings, not unlike water in a huge caldron, whence the first explorers of the country gave it the name of Chaudiere or Caldron falls. Mr. P. Wright resided in this place, where he had a fine establishment and a great number of men employed in cultivating the land, and getting out lumber.